US Metropolitan Museum of Art to return 15 smuggled sculptures to India

World Sunday 02/April/2023 05:45 AM
US Metropolitan Museum of Art to return 15 smuggled sculptures to India

New York City : A total of 15 sculptures will be returned to the Indian government, the US Metropolitan Museum of Art announced after learning that the works were illegally removed from India.

In the official statement, the Metropolitan Museum of Art pointed out that all the sculptures were sold by Subhash Kapoor, a looter, who had helped to traffic the items from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries. Last year, in November, a court in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu sentenced Kapoor, a dealer 10 years imprisonment.

"The Met contacted Homeland Security about its works from Kapoor in 2015 and is pleased to be acting on this matter today as a result of the criminal investigation into Subhash Kapoor by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Through this cooperative partnership, the museum received new information from the Manhattan DA's office about 15 works of art that made it clear that the works should be transferred, resulting in a constructive resolution," the statement read.

"The works range in date from the 1st century BCE to the 11th century CE, and include terracotta, copper, and stone," the statement added.

Over the entire incident, The Museum commented that they are committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art, and applies rigorous provenance standards both to new acquisitions and to works long in its collection.

The Museum is actively reviewing the history of antiquities from suspect dealers. The Museum values highly its long-standing relationships with the government of India, and is pleased to resolve this matter, it said.

Earlier, in October 2022, after the 15-years of investigation, the US authorities said that they had returned 307 antiquities that were stolen by multiple smaller trafficking networks to India, valued at nearly 4 million Dollars, according to a press statement.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L Bragg Jr on Monday announced that they are returning 307 antiquities valued at nearly USD 4 million to the people of India and the majority of them were seized from disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.

All the antiquities were returned during a repatriation ceremony at the Indian Consulate in New York attended by India's Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, and US Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI") Acting Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge, Tom Lau.